Heavenly Forest (Tada, kimi wo aishiteru) [2006] • Japan

I was a bit surprised by the sometimes frank and honest dialog coming from Aoi Miyazaki's character in what for the most part is a very family friendly bit of Japanese young love/first love cinema. But it is appropriate for her character, a set-to-mature-at-any-moment young woman deficient in some necessary growth hormones needed to push her over the edge (that when triggered by a first kiss could ultimately be her ... undoing) and seems trapped in young adolescence. It's a very cute and cute-funny, and really sad, sad, film. Miyazaki teeters the edge between coy and seductive so well it made me dizzy ... with delight.

The film is beautifully photographed. The 'heavenly' forest is fairy-tale gorgeous, as are the three young actors we spend time with. The story is engaging too, clearly a novel-adapted one.


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